Question of the Week

Question: Do you know what The Joint Commission’s position is on “scribes”?

Answer:  The Joint Commission recently published new FAQs regarding scribes.  TJC describes a scribe as “an unlicensed person hired to enter information into the electronic medical record (EMR) or chart at the direction of a physician or practitioner (Licensed Independent Practitioner, Advanced Practice Registered Nurse or Physician Assistant).”  TJC’s position is that a scribe cannot act independently, but may document a physician or practitioner’s dictation and/or activities.  TJC also stated that scribes are usually, although not exclusively, used in emergency departments, when accompanying a physician or other practitioner and record information into the medical record.

The FAQs go on to state that TJC does not endorse or prohibit the use of scribes, but if scribes are used, it lists the standards that surveyors will expect to see compliance with, including the standards regarding Human Resources, Information Management, Leadership (contracted services standard), Rights and Responsibilities, Record of Care and Provision of Care.

Finally, the FAQs state that “The Joint Commission does not support scribes being utilized to enter orders for physicians or practitioners due to the additional risk added to the process.”